Among the many options we have for preparing an aperitif or tapas, tins of fish and shellfish are an excellent choice, because they are very nutritious and healthy.
And among tinned seafood, cockles are the kings of the aperitif. Dressed with a little olive oil and the typical Espinaler canned fish sauce, they are a delicacy that is hard to refuse.
Read on if you want to know a little more about this typical Galician canned food.
What are cockles?
Also known as verdigón, the cockle is a bivalve mollusc that lives in salty waters. It belongs to the Cardiidae family and its scientific name is Cerastoderma edule.
The cockle is easily recognised by its shell, which distinguishes it from other species, as it has 22 to 28 ribs that give it a radiate appearance.
Where do cockles come from?
They are found buried in soft bottoms of fine or silty sand, and are located from the coastal strip of the Atlantic Ocean to depths of 10 metres. Likewise, the best Galician cockles are extracted from the estuaries, which contain water that is much richer in nutrients.
Cockles are widely found along the Atlantic coasts, from Norway to the west coast of Africa, passing through Holland, France, Spain and Portugal.
Different sizes of cockles
The different types of canned cockles are classified according to their size. There are 4 different sizes of cockles. In descending order, the different qualities of cockle are: giant, large, third category and fourth category. Of these categories, the most valued is the giant cockle, which has a more intense flavour.
Nutritional properties of cockles
Cockles, as well as having an exquisite flavour, are highly valued for their nutritional properties. In particular, its high iron content makes it an ideal food for people suffering from anaemia, sportsmen and women during pregnancy.
Cockles are also rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, iodine and calcium, which help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, strengthen bones and develop muscles. Along with these minerals, cockles are also rich in B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin C, which contribute to strengthening the immune system.
Finally, cockles are a source of proteins and Omega 3 fatty acids, which help to regulate cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases. They are also very low in fat and calories, which makes them easily digestible and a perfect food for people who want to lose weight.
Where to buy canned cockles?
At Colono, as specialists in high quality canned fish, we have a wide variety of Spanish and Portuguese canned fish and seafood. Among them you can find canned cockles from the Galician Rias, which are the best valued.